PRESS RELEASE – THE Humanistic Solidarity Association (Saint Lucia-Cuba) and the Embassy of Cuba in Saint Lucia, on the evening of Saturday, November 25, collaborated to pay homage to President Fidel Castro Ruz, on the occasion of the observance of the first anniversary of the late Cuban leader’s passing.
Commander-in-Chief, Fidel Castro, Cuba’s revolutionary leader for almost five decades, died in Havana on November 25, 2016.
The homage, hosted at the Embassy of Cuba in Rodney Bay, was led by Master of Ceremonies, Nicholas Jn. Baptiste, Secretary of the HSA. Further to welcome remarks by Marlene Alexander, President of the Association, participants viewed a video presentation on the life of Fidel Castro, which highlighted numerous important matters of Cuba’s revolutionary experience, including President Castro’s significant predictions, nearly three decades ago, on the present-day scourge of climate change, and his urgent calls since that time, at the level of the United Nations, for the world to protect and preserve the environment.
Following the video presentation came tributes to Fidel Castro by a number of speakers, including Tania Alphonse, Secretary of the Saint Lucia Guild of Graduates of Cuba; Comrade Peter “Pel” Lansiquot, First Vice President of the HSA and former Charge d’Affaires at the Embassy of Saint Lucia in Cuba; Dr.Didacus Jules, Director-General of the OECS; former Saint Lucian diplomat, Ambassador Earl Stephen Huntley; and Ambassador of Cuba to St. Lucia, His Excellency Jorge Soberon Luis.
Comrade Lansiquot and Dr. Jules, who had both personally met with Fidel Castro, spoke of Castro’s great love for humanity. Most notably, it was highlighted that Fidel, through the Cuban revolutionary government, had created massive educational and eye–care programmes (the Miracle Eye Programme) that had benefited millions of people outside of Cuba.
Comrade Lansiquot informed the gathering that during his 18 months at the Embassy in Cuba, 17,000 Saint Lucians received free eye surgeries in Cuba. Dr. Jules described the severity of the impact of the U.S. economic embargo against Cuba, and praised the amazing ability of President Castro and the people of Cuba to have stood resolutely against it for nearly 55 years.
Ambassador Huntley reviewed Fidel Castro’s role in the liberation struggles in Southern Africa, very skillfully explaining Cuba’s profound involvement in securing the independence of Angola and Namibia, the dismantling of Apartheid in South Africa, and the catalyzing of Nelson Mandela’s historic release from the Apartheid prison system. Ambassador Huntley also focused on what he called the origin of Fidel Castro’s social humanity and worldview – the fact that Fidel’s Catholic upbringing, through his mother and Jesuit priests, had so strongly influenced his approach to life, that he equated his revolutionary ideals with the ethics of Christianity, and invoked Jesus Christ as a role model.
In his closing remarks, the Cuban Ambassador Soberon spoke of the manner in which Fidel Castro’s policies had dramatically changed Cuba for the better.
Wayne Louis, a graduate of the Cuban educational system, and Floor Member on the HSA Executive, had the honour of delivering the vote of thanks.
The evening’s activities ended on a very successful note with a small reception..